Women athletes with menstrual irregularity have increased musculoskeletal injuries

Thomas Lloyd, Steven J. Triantafyllou, Elizabeth R. Baker, Peter S. Houts, James A. Whiteside, Alexander Kalenak, Paul G. Stumpf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations

Abstract

LLOYD, T., S. J. TRIANTAFYLLOU, E. R. BAKER, P. S. HOUTS, J. A. WHITESIDE, A. KALENAK, and P. G. STUMPF. Women athletes with menstrual irregularity have increased musculoskeletal injuries. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 374-379, 1986. We have performed a retrospective three-phase study to evaluate the effect of menstrual status upon musculoskeletal injuries in women athletes. Initially, we collected the menstrual and running histories of women participants in a regional 10-km footrace. In this study, 61% of the respondents to our questionnaire reported a continuous running program, and 39% reported an interruption of at least 3 months of their running program. The most common cause for interruption was injury. Those who had interrupted their running were more likely to have had irregular or absent menses and less likely to have been using oral contraceptives than the group of continuous runners. Secondly, we obtained information on the relationship between bone injury and menstrual status by reviewing the sports medicine records of 207 collegiate women athletes. We found that X-ray-documented fractures occurred in 9% of women athletes with regular menses and in 24% of women athletes with irregular or absent menses. Subsequently, we collected data from a larger population of more serious, but still recreational runners, participating in a national 10-km race. Each portion of this study has yielded similar results: Those women who had been injured during their running program were more likely to have had absent or irregular menses, were less likely to have used oral contraceptives, and had been running for more years. We conclude that premenopausal women who have absent or irregular menses, while engaged in vigorous exercise programs, are at increased risk for musculoskeletal injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)374-379
Number of pages6
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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